Thursday, May 3, 2012
The Fifth Installment
As I continue to explore how the blog format may serve as a “real-time” studio for educational purposes in the profession of architecture, I find that the approach of using one post with progressive installments for an entire project will soon become unwieldy. Therefore, from this point forward in the development of a design solution for a contemporary adaptive re-use of a 1925 craftsmen-style residential structure in the City of Roanoke’s “Old Southwest Historic District”, progressive posts on this blog will be dedicated solely to this project until completion.
The City of Roanoke has an Architectural Review Board (ARB) established to review all proposed EXTERIOR modifications on all buildings within its historic districts; the “Farmers’ Market Area” (H-1) and “Old Southwest” (H-2, including 3 others) When I began posting the design progression of this project online, my intent was to explore a process that would benefit both Roanoke City and all future developers within our cherished historic districts. Very early on April 30, 2012, I was contacted by an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Roanoke, who very succinctly informed me that he had advised the ARB to refrain from all communication regarding this project or any other within their jurisdiction online. The attorney explained that his advice was to prevent any potential challenges of ARB decisions as being “arbitrary and capricious.”
In our excessively litigious society, his concern is not easily dismissed. On the other hand, in the interest of improving the traditionally stiff bureaucratic process of review of architectural design decisions, we can seek better ways to communicate the rationale behind those decisions.
In the spirit of progress, and National Preservation Month: http://www.preservationnation.org/take-action/preservation-month/proclamation.html, I hope the members of the ARB and who choose to follow this experiment will feel welcome to submit “anonymous” comments and/or questions. I also encourage all interested parties to feel welcome to participate as the project progresses.
As we continue our study of the historic structure this project is focused upon, our attention progresses to a view from the northeast.
A. The existing carriage house appears to have been built near the same time as the original structure. It is currently serving as a dwelling unit with an exterior egress stair to the loft level. The current zoning ordinance will not allow this use to continue if the main structure is allowed to contain two dwelling units. Therefore, current economic consideration requires the Owner to abandon this use in favor of creating two more desirable dwelling units in the primary structure. For that reason, at this stage, we will not focus attention on the preservation of that structure.
B. The east wing of the main structure appears to have been an early modification (or addition) to the original primary structure. This judgment is based upon observation of the existing adjacent structure at 1316 2nd St., SW which appears to have been constructed by the same contractor based upon the same basic plan.
C. A uniquely “awkward” enclosure of interior space on the second main floor level of the main structure appears to have been added to accommodate utility access in the area of an interior stair to the basement.
D. An architecturally important feature of the original structure is the bay window located in the apparent dining area of the original structure. The condition of the casement windows encourages historic restoration. The installation of “window air-conditioning units” has compromised the architectural integrity of one of the four casement window units comprising the bay.
E. An 8-light over 1-light double hung window providing day-lighting to the basement utility area appears to have been installed as an original “design-sensitive match” on the earliest addition to the original structure.
F. The same is true of this double-hung window noted above. Further noteworthy is the rustication of the stucco finish on the basement walls of the earliest addition.
G. The painted simulated cedar shingle siding that currently is on the second level of the original structure and used with apparent random application on the earliest east wing may or may not reflect the original application of this material. Regardless of that truth, it is doubtful that the original intended finish was a painted color.
- ▼ May (5)